The Lockmen secured a fantastic win in the Keyway Derby, in a game that was packed with goals, a missed penalty red-cards and plenty of controversy.
The first action of the game saw The Steelmen force a corner on five minutes which was headed wide by Davies. Sixty seconds later The Lockmen’s first threat saw player-boss Mark Habbershaw’s shot blocked low down by home keeper and ex-Red Ben Holden, another former Red in the shape of Todd Perry, finish the clearance. The Lockmen took the lead on seven minutes when Chadd Birch’s snap-shot beat Holden at his near post. The lead was doubled on 11 minutes when Habbershaw launched a stunning 35 yard strike into the far top corner, leaving Holden absolutely no chance. Bilston won two corners on 14 and 19 minutes but both were cleared, however The Steelmen saw the latter produce a shot which deflected back to keeper Ryan Lewis. The home side saw a free-kick awarded to the right of the goal five yards outside of the box, however it hit the wall and was cleared. Back came Willenhall through Chadd Birch who saw his cross shot drop just wide on the half-hour. Two minutes later Tamoor Hossain fired wide for the home-side before Corey Pearce was inches wide for the visitors from Habbershaw’s excellent low cross. Bilston then halved the deficit on 40 minutes when Dan Elwell powered home a corner off the underside of the bar. The Lockmen then won a penalty on 43 minutes for a challenge on Chadd Birch which brought a surprising caution. Holden brilliantly blocked Habbershaw’s penalty and the follow up as well. Willenhall skipper Ben Perks then headed against a post with Corey Pearce blazing over from the rebound.
HT BILSTON TOWN COMMUNITY 1-2 WILLENHALL TOWN
The second half saw a full-blooded game with both sides fighting had for territory. The Lockmen won a 47th minute after Davies was forced to head over his own crossbar after a ball was pumped into the area. The Lockmen nearly got a third goal on 59 minutes when Perks headed against the post again from a free-kick, again Pearce blazed a brilliant chance over from the rebound. Four minutes later Holden was quickly off his line to grab a through ball on the edge of the area, a dangerous move considering the pounding rain and soggy conditions. A minute later and the Lockmen won a corner before the home side broke upfield and saw Lewis produce a super save and then block the rebound. With twenty left to play Kyle Thompson was narrowly off target after fine work from Pearce before the visitors found themselves up against the odds when Micel Barrett was given a straight red for a two-footed challenge on 71 minutes. However, as the home side upped the pressure with a string of crosses and free-kicks peppering the Willenhall area they refused to buckle whilst looking dangerous themselves on the break. A fine run on 75 minutes by Steelmen sub Lewis Archer was well cleared before Perry then hit a post on 86 minutes. However, it was he who was responsible for starting a fracas which resulted in three red cards. He took exception to a strong but fair challenge from Willenhall sub Ashley Stewart and twice kicked the grounded player, resulting in some pushing and shoving after Stewart jumped up and pushed him over. The result was a red for Perry, a red for Bilston’s Davies, apparently for pushing and a red for Willenhall’s Jamal Pinnock for running some distance to confront a home player by pushing his head towards him.
The Lockmen comfortably hung on to take the points in a brilliant advert for local football.